The Lessons of History

In 1968, Will and Ariel Durant published The Lessons of History after publishing 10 of their 11 volumes of The Story of Civilization. It is a summary of the lessons learned after plowing through almost 5000 years of recorded history and, like their 11 volume set, was written to appeal to the general public as opposed to the educated elite.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
US (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 – 1952)

Audio files – snippets from the audio book:

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So what lessons can be learned from some 2000 years ago.

  • Freedom of the individual means some will accumulate more wealth. It is as old as civilization. The best that government can do is ensure equal opportunity of education and advancement. You might as well decree that everyone be able to run 100 yards under 10 seconds.
  • Price controls? Done that.
  • Huge number of lawyers working to get around taxes while another bunch work furiously to close loopholes? Done that.
  • Corruption, nepotism, and despotism will destroy any form of government.
  • When the rich start investing in non-production to make more money, the society is in trouble. Wealth is no longer made by producing useful products or services. That is why the speculation, hedge funds, and the whole derivative movement is so troubling.
  • Progressive taxation does not redistribute wealth. It only inflates the size of governments.
  • As government becomes more intrusive in business and the lives of its citizens, political influence becomes more valuable than product or societal improvements.
  • Capitalism beats Socialism, Statism, or any other centralized economic control.
  • Representative Democracy IS the best form of government.

Ben Franklin was correct. We must fight to save our Republic!

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